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Difference between soaps and Primetime dramas


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#1 doolfan

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

I know primetime dramas have better production values and they are sexy and elegant but I think the thing that seperates them apart from soaps is that with Primetime dramas you don't get invested/connected to the characters like you do watching a soap opera. Primetime shows run for about 24 episodes a season whereas soaps run all year and take things slower where you get invested in the characters and actually care about what the characters do. I just don't feel that way with Primetime. What do you all think? What seperates Primetime and Soaps to you?
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#2 chicklitsandfantasies

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:46 PM

Who says you don't get connected with the characters on a primetime drama like you do a daytime soap? The way writers write some new characters lately I can connect more to character sin 24 epis on primetime. 


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#3 doolfan

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:02 PM

I don't mean new characters. I mean characters who have been on the show awhile. Like todays scenes of John/Kristen on DAYS. They were awesome & so well written!
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#4 ellabelle

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:02 PM

I know primetime dramas have better production values and they are sexy and elegant but I think the thing that seperates them apart from soaps is that with Primetime dramas you don't get invested/connected to the characters like you do watching a soap opera. Primetime shows run for about 24 episodes a season whereas soaps run all year and take things slower where you get invested in the characters and actually care about what the characters do.

 

JR Ewing. Seriously. Just... JR Ewing. He's one of the best characters to ever come out of a primetime soap, and he was wonderful to watch, even in his very old age. I adored watching him when I was just a child, and I sobbed throughout the episode in which JR was laid to rest. To say that people don't get invested in primetime characters because they aren't on as much is simlpy inaccurate.

 

I've liked a lot of different characters on daytime and primetime, but the only daytime characters I've loved as much as JR were Erica Kane and David Hayward.

 

For me the difference in primetime and daytime is pacing and cast size. If you have up to 5 hours a week, 50 weeks a year to tell stories, you can take your time with it. I see that as a blessing and a curse to be honest - if you love the story it's great that it takes a long time to tell. If you dislike it, well, that's an awful lot of fast-forwarding you're going to be doing. If you're one of those people who watched a show for just a handful of characters, there may be days or weeks when you don't watch at all because nothing on there interests you.


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#5 doolfan

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:29 PM

I didn't say people didn't get connected. I said you don't have as much time to.
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#6 Nothin'ButAttitude

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:38 PM

When breaking it down, Primetime dramas are soaps. The difference is they have overpaid stars (sometimes), better sets, cameras, etc. I mean they all have continuing story arcs and characters that soaps have. They use the same tropes as soaps do too. It always irks me when stars on primetime TV throw shade at soaps when most of them are on a soap. Walking Dead . . . Zombie soap. Nashville . . . Soap with country music. Grey's Anatomy . . . soap with slutty doctors. Scandal . . . soap with slutty politicians. Star Trek . . . Soap in space. tongue.png I can go on. . . .


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#7 jfung79

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 04:59 AM

Having more older characters, bigger families, more community, several generations.  The longer history, the ability to go into greater depth and explore character more over 5 days a week.


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#8 y&r_fan

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 05:26 AM

One big difference is that daytime soaps last for decades while primetime shows usually get cancelled after a few years...
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#9 allmc2008

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 07:50 PM

One big difference is that daytime soaps last for decades while primetime shows usually get cancelled after a few years...

I was getting ready to say the difference is between the fans. I think Daytime fans are more tollerant when shows go down-hill because all soaps regardless have had low points either in ratings or storytelling. I think primetime fans jump the ship to early and demand to much of the writers.


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#10 jfung79

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:12 PM

Primetime soaps usually have lots of plotholes (even as they emphasize plot over character), and put style over substance and jump around, so I don't think fans are more tolerant in daytime.  If anything I think fans are more tolerant in primetime because there is not that depth of passion from having watched for so many years..  Daytime soap fan boards are filled with people nitpicking on episodes and calling for people to be fired 75% of the time, while that is not so much the case with primetime.  Many primetime writers fail when they come to daytime because they're not used to having to come up with so much story every week, and really following the characters and digging and exploring the ties of their canvases.  They can just do some big plot thing every week and have some twists in primetime. Primetime soaps are largely disposable because with the exception of Dallas being revived, they are cancelled when their run ends and that's that.  Daytime soap stories create an imprint on characters that still reverberate decades later.


Edited by jfung79, 25 May 2013 - 08:19 PM.

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#11 EricMontreal22

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:18 PM

I think, despite using soap opera tropes, primetime soaps still prescribe to the major differences between daytime and primetime--they *show* instead of *tell*--it's much more visuals based and much less theatrical.


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#12 allmc2008

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:30 PM

I think, despite using soap opera tropes, primetime soaps still prescribe to the major differences between daytime and primetime--they *show* instead of *tell*--it's much more visuals based and much less theatrical.

Sorry, what's the difference between Show and Tell? I thought daytime "Show's" in the sense that they are not usually on the nose. They Show us character weakness, whereas, in prime time the stories "tell" us the character weakness.


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#13 EricMontreal22

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:36 PM

Basically if there was a car crash on a show on primetime they would show it, on daytime they would discuss it.


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#14 allmc2008

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:51 PM

Basically if there was a car crash on a show on primetime they would show it, on daytime they would discuss it.

ok.


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#15 ~bl~

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:55 PM

Show versus tell.. also can be the opposite. A daytime soap can show us weeks worth of someone struggling with a situation, while a prime time show glosses over the same suffering just telling us it happened during the time that it was off the air for the summer for example.


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#16 EricMontreal22

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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:58 PM

Good point bl--and I think that's what soaps do at their best.  Yo can show someone struggling with alcoholism over a yea--not over one or two episodes.


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#17 gtru1981

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:34 AM

Network TV has become like daytime TV, both are stable and boring. Reason why network TV is struggling, it's the same crap over and over.

Now Cable TV is were to be. They are way more daring and can tell better story lines. They can swear and show more graphic stuff on TV. The walking dead would have been such a snooze fest like Revolution is. You wouldn't be able to see Andrea grabbing Shane's junk on the walking dead on daytime TV. Also cable TV has shorter seasons and it makes people want to watch. We have seen what TWD ha done when they come back, they shatter records.

I think the biggest problem with Daytime, is that they keep telling the same story lines from 40 years ago. How many times can Erica Kane get married or how many children can Stephano have out of no where? My friend hasn't watched Days in over 10 years an asked me recently, is Marlena still on and is Stephano still causing trouble and I said yes. She was like ok there's my recap, it's the same crap over ad over.

Edited by gtru1981, 26 May 2013 - 09:36 AM.

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#18 jfung79

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 07:55 PM

I think the biggest problem with Daytime, is that they keep telling the same story lines from 40 years ago. How many times can Erica Kane get married or how many children can Stephano have out of no where? My friend hasn't watched Days in over 10 years an asked me recently, is Marlena still on and is Stephano still causing trouble and I said yes. She was like ok there's my recap, it's the same crap over ad over.

 

They're not telling the same storylines.  They were not telling the story of Marlena's gay grandson and his lover, co-parenting with a homophobic cousin who was raped in prison, in a sensitive, artful storyline in May Sweeps five, ten, twenty years ago.

 

To say that some characters are still there means nothing has changed, is to deny that in real life, families change in composition and character but remain to a certain extent constant as well.  The longevity of characters is part of the appeal and greatness of soaps, not a weakness. 

 

DAYS in particular has changed a great deal in its tone, becoming very character-driven and topical, so to use DAYS as an example really surprises me.


Edited by jfung79, 27 May 2013 - 08:02 PM.

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#19 doolfan

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 09:57 PM

 
They're not telling the same storylines.  They were not telling the story of Marlena's gay grandson and his lover, co-parenting with a homophobic cousin who was raped in prison, in a sensitive, artful storyline in May Sweeps five, ten, twenty years ago.
 
To say that some characters are still there means nothing has changed, is to deny that in real life, families change in composition and character but remain to a certain extent constant as well.  The longevity of characters is part of the appeal and greatness of soaps, not a weakness. 
 
DAYS in particular has changed a great deal in its tone, becoming very character-driven and topical, so to use DAYS as an example really surprises me.


I agree DAYS has become very topical & character driven & I like that. In months past comments about DAYS were all over the map but here lately on this bored the comments have been mostly positive. Plus I agree the character longetivity is what is appealing. We grow to care for & love these characters and that's what makes soaps interesting because we watch these characters lives play out everyday for years like in real life. I also like how DAYS scenes are slower & longer. GH starts out with random 5 second scenes that don't show anything. I like how DAYS has longer scenes that actually show what the days episode is going to be about and I like how their scenes don't jump around. DAYS has been wonderful lately. I've been watching every episode & I expect its ratings to increase in the coming weeks. Btw I also agree about the Will story. This is something new to DAYS & daytime.
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#20 jo.frank88

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:40 PM

I think there are many many differences between daytime and primetime soaps.. many of which have already been mentioned. To me the biggest difference is the timeframe..Daytime soaps are "worlds without end." They are giving you the impression that they are going on forever. Plot from 40 years ago can come into play today...(This often causes viewers to feel more connected to daytime characters becuase we have "grown up with them" or have had them be a part of our lives for so long). Whereas, primetime soaps have many of the same elements of continuing story.. it is not meant to last forever. It knows it will have an end point in mind. We will not be following these people for generations and generations 40 years from now. To me, that's the biggest different. It's the mindset.


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